The Dinos wrestling team had a nice set of meals Jan. 21-22 at the University of Alberta Varsity tournament. On the menu were U of A Pandas and Golden Bears, University of Saskatchewan Huskies, a few University of Manitoba Bison and a NAIT Ook tossed in for good measure.
The women, led by gold-medal performances from Krista Wells and Brit Laverdure, completely dominated the field and obliterated the competition to finish first overall at the tournament. The men started slowly, but recovered with strong finishes by Damon Booth, Huy Nguyen and the crew to place fourth overall in a field of ten top-notch schools.
While winning is good, "more importantly for the women's team, we managed to beat [the Simon Frasier University Clan], which is our main competition going into Canada West," commented Wells, who finished first in the women's 48kg weight class. "SFU has won the CIS women's title for the last couple of years, so they're probably the number one going into [the] Canada West and the CIS competition."
For the men, the tournament was a sobering experience after the slow start according to Wilson Burnett. He finished third in the men's 82kg class, but holds hope for the upcoming Canada West tournament, which is hosted by the U of C this year, Feb. 18-19.
"We came out a little bit flat, but we still ended up being competitive," Burnett offered. "We won a few medals and battled our way through it, but I think we're ready for Canada West."
The U of A tournament also gave the team a chance to gauge their success against opponents that will be paying the U of C a visit next month.
"I think we came out well, it was a good effort. A lot of people had personal success. We all made big strides in our wrestling and learned a lot about how we're going to have to wrestle at Canada West, [which] we're prepared to play rough [at]," co-captain Beamer Comfort declared.
But co-captain Joe Bentley offered a bolder statement in conclusion.
"It's gut check time. All lines are firing, it's go time in the season and it's good to get the two points."
Surely one cannot question the confidence of this team, nor their skills to back it up as they steam ahead towards the Canada West tournament. It will definitely be a barn-burner as marauding Canada West forces try to capture Fortress Calgary. This promises to be a doozy, ladies and gentlemen. Matches take place in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium Feb. 18-19. Come out and show your support.